I had a little extra pep in my step walking downstairs to the breakfast buffet on Thursday. Everyone else in our hotel seemed to be there for some sort on conference with badges hanging from their necks and looks of fatigue and wanting to go home on their faces. But not me. I felt great. The combination of the Yankees win and the bench-clearing brawl to reignite the rivalry had me walking around Boston like Joseph-Gordon Levitt after he sleeps with Zooey Deschanel for the first time in 500 Days of Summer.
The weather was finally nice in Boston. It had felt like winter for the first two games of the series, but now it felt like spring as we walked around Back Bay. The Yankees would be going for the series win later that night, and the anticipation of the game still several hours away had me pumped.
After a short pregame session at Cask N’Flagon, Brittni and I walked into Fenway, and shortly after game started, it started to rain as the Baseball Gods continued to punish Major League Baseball and its fans for starting the season on March 29. The beautiful day had turned into a disgusting night, and it might not have been as cold as the previous two nights, but the rain was an annoyance.
As the rain rapidly increased, so did Sonny Gray’s pitch count. He only needed 16 pitches to get through the first inning despite a single and hit by pitch that got the crowd’s attention after Wednesday night‘s events. But in the second inning, the wheels came off.
Eduardo Nunez singled to lead off the inning and then Gray walked Jackie Bradley Jr., who does everything in his power to not walk. Gray’s first pitch to Sandy Leon was wild, which allowed Nunez to move to third. Leon singled in Nunez and Bradley moved to second. Gray the walked Brock Holt, who entered the game batting .077/.294/.077, to load the bases. Mookie Betts drove in Bradley with a sacrifice fly and then Andrew Benintendi drove in Leon with a fielder’s choice. An error on Tyler Wade allowed Benintendi to go to second. Mitch Moreland then singled to score Holt. Gray struck out J.D. Martinez and got Rafael Devers to ground out to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Four runs on three hits and two walks and 33 pitches. The Yankees had their work cut out for them thanks to another egg being laid by Gray.
The Yankees went down 1-2-3 again in the third as Rick Porcello remained perfect through three. Gray followed up his disastrous second by allowing back-to-back doubles to begin the third and make it 5-0. After a pair of strikeouts, a groundout scored the sixth run. The Yankees were down 6-0 after three, the rain wasn’t slowing down and I wanted to be back at the hotel bar eating a burger, drinking a beer and watching this awful game on TV along with the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Giancarlo Stanton got hit by a pitch in the fourth, which led to cheers at Fenway as if the crowd were riled up for Pearl Jam to come out for an encore. Unfortunately, that would be the only baserunner of the inning and the no-hitter was still intact.
Gray gave up a leadoff single to Moreland and Aaron Boone had seen enough. I had seen enough two innings prior, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to make pitching changes for the Yankees (though they would be better off if I were). Domingo German relieved Gray and retired the next three batters to end the inning.
The Yankees went down in order in the fifth and after the bottom of the fifth, the umpires called for the tarp. Great. A rain delay in the middle of a 6-0 game. I wanted to leave, but I also wanted to watch the heart of the order bat again in the event that they could put a rally together. Luckily, our tickets included the Royal Rooters club, so we hung out in there during the 45-minute rain delay.
The Yankees went down in order again in the sixth and now I was worried. Was I really going to watch Rick Porcello (the worst AL Cy Young winner in history) of all pitchers no-hit the Yankees? I was nine outs away from watching the worst Yankees regular-season loss I had ever seen at Fenway Park.
Thankfully, Aaron Judge doubled to leadoff the seventh and save me from watching the Yankees get no-hit. Stanton followed the double with a single and i started to get excited. But the excitement didn’t last long as Didi Gregorius flew out and then Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks struck out to end the inning. It was time to go. The Yankees were down 6-0 with six outs to their name and I was drenched and hungry.
We got back to the hotel restaurant/bar and warmth and were enjoying some beer and food and playoff hockey when the bartender started to change the channel. She changed the channel to the Yankees-Red Sox, which meant something happened or was happening. Did the Yankees come back? Was there another brawl?
Sure enough, the Red Sox had brought in Marcus Walden with a six-run lead in the ninth and he proceeded to walk Judge, give up a single to Giancarlo Stanton and walk Gregorius. Sanchez had just hit a bases-clearing double and was standing on second when the bartender changed the channel. I was excited, but not excited in the event that they did complete a six-run, ninth-inning comeback and I had left early.
Craig Kimbrel made sure I didn’t regret my decision to trade cold, wet, miserable Yankees baseball for food, beer and warmth. He got Hicks to ground out and the struck out Neil Walker and Wade, to no surprise, to end the game.
The Yankees had lost the game and the series and were now 4 1/2 games back in the division after just 13 games. After three days and three games in cold, wet weather, I was ready to leave Boston and I’m sure the Yankees were too.